Snakes and Cyberdungeons – MGSV, Shadowrun, The White March, and Mad Max

MGSV-3

Apologies for the lack of updates lately but I’ve been deep into quite a few games.

MGSV: The Phantom Pain

Been spending a lot of time with something that is essentially “Metal Gear Skyrim” in relation to its open-world/do anything approach to stealth. Is it as good as they say? Personally I’m loving the approach that Kojima and company took with it.

It’s also likely to be his last Metal Gear anything game given the news that has emerged over the past few months over Konami’s transformation into a company focusing more on mobile and pachinko segments. If this is what he wants to leave the series with, there’s really no better way to go than with what has been turning out to be an outstanding game. Story is pure Kojima, so I’m used to seeing things that show up in the game that are just bizarre, but game-wise, it’s a solid covert-ops sandbox.

Konami says the series will continue even without Kojima at the helm, though it’s hard to imagine what form the next game will take without his personality behind the director’s chair.

Pillars of Eternity: The White Run

This dropped at the same time that Shadowrun: Hong Kong did so splitting my time between the two has been pretty rough.

From what I’ve gotten to play, however, I’ve been enjoying it as much as the core game. And it’s only Part One! I’ve made it only as far as discovering a (very mean) dragon lurking up in the wastes, making peace with the ogres, and hopefully trying my best to save whatever is left of a dying town.

Combat still feels great and the addition of a few new (and extremely tricky) mixes of enemies made some of my early fights brutal affairs. Being mobbed by monks…pretty crushing. The two ciphers I have in my party were working overtime to try and keep enemies confused and off balance while my fighters did their best to focus their ire on the ones I targeted.

And I also have a skull buddy. He’s no Morte, but I’ll take his ability to summon the shade of an incredibly powerful lich as compensation.

Now…to figure out what to do about that dragon…

Shadowrun: Hong Kong
*Full Disclosure: I was a backer for this on KS

I’ve been trying to find time to run the shadows here, too.

From what I’ve been able to play (through the first ‘real’ mission and now we’re working for the local triad), it’s gotten off to a great start. The new characters are as intriguing as the brutal politics and the trappings of Chinese tradition that seep into the details beckoning further exploration. And I want to keep exploring and pushing deeper into the mystery that it’s set out with.

Noticed the new look to the Matrix and the improved mob behaviors inside of it. Really digging the changes there.

Just like with Dragonfall, it feels as if it is turning the pages of its own story just as the PnP sourcebooks have in describing the world of Hong Kong. Now to just find enough time to really appreciate this.

Mad Max

Yes, it’s another open world game. And it’s a pretty big one. I haven’t spent as much time with this as I should, namely because of MGSV, but from what I’ve played so far, it’s a fun little sandbox that nicely compliments the same-day release of the film on blu-ray.

That’s pretty much the only explanation that I can come up with for WB to send this game into near retail suicide against Konami’s gorilla. Apart from that, though, it’s done by the same studio that did the Just Cause series (Avalanche) and that comes through in the mini-quests, tasks, and general mayhem found in the game.

It’s fun if you love driving around — a lot — and many of your activities will be centered on building the baddest car in the wasteland as well as helping Max improve his own stats depending on how much he does in doing it.

Max also throws a mean combo, Arkham Batman style, although given a “rough edged” polish to set it apart from Bruce Wayne’s more “civilized” approach to brawling, so you’ll see suplexes, drop kicks, body-hurling punches and kicks, and other whatnot.

So far it’s really neat if you’re a fan of post-apoc settings in general, or especially if you liked the film (the game has a story completely separate from it, though). Part of me wants to imagine what Rage could’ve been like if it took this approach. I might spend a bit more time on this after I’ve had enough of sneaking around and employing enemy soldiers to work for me instead.

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